If all you do is look at the global health statistics for death and disability, it’s clear that men are doing worse than women. Yet women, and children, tend to get most of the focus and emphasis in global health policy. A recent Lancet paper pointed this out. But NPR quotes one of my favorite health experts explaining why, despite these numbers, it still makes sense to focus mostly on women and children.
Karen Grepin, a health economist at New York University, says men are often doing poorly because of unhealthy behavior. Women and children are often doing poorly due to lack of equal access to income, power and health services – often basic preventive care like vaccines and reproductive health.
“Women are politically, economically disadvantaged around the world,” Grepin says. “There are really important consequences for women’s health. They play a large role in taking care of children. When they get sick, there’s a spillover effect in the house — for the next generation.”
The so-called ‘war on drugs’ hasn’t worked, by almost any indicator. Some could make the case that the quasi-militaristic law enforcement strategy has actually made things worse by creating massive cycles of violence – not to mention rewarding cartels by, inadvertently, driving up prices.
The US government has a long history of mixing up its missions overseas. Is food aid supposed to be about feeding the hungry or serving the interests of the American agribusiness? (Hint: The answer, so far, is yes … with an emphasis on the latter). Similarly, based partly on the idea of ‘winning hearts and minds,’ the US military is now competing for a piece of the turf occupied by Doctors Without Borders and other health aid organizations.
The Center for Global Development’s Kate Almquist Knopf gives six reasons why this is a bad idea.
Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame, a favorite of many politicians and development champions in the West, has been on the defensive lately arguing against accusations that Rwanda has perpetuated a bloody conflict across the border in Congo and is constructing a de-facto one-party, authoritarian state.
Eskinder Nega was arrested after raising questions about arrests under Ethiopia’s anti-terrorism legislation in September 2011. Now he serves an 18 year sentence thanks to the very law he questioned.
“The Ethiopian government is treating calls for peaceful protest as a terrorist act and is outlawing the legitimate activity of journalists and opposition members,” said Amnesty International‘s Ethiopia researcher Claire Beston at the time of sentencing.
Rights groups raised attention to the use of the law to circumvent speech and dissent. Nearly a year later, Nega remains in jail. His attempt to appeal the ruling two weeks ago failed. The judge upheld the sentencing decision, saying it was correct.
“The truth will set us free,” said Nega to the public following the ruling. “We want the Ethiopian public to know that the truth will reveal itself, it’s only a matter of time.”
A year and a half of truth later and Nega is still in jail. He is not the lone victim of Ethiopia’s crackdown of opposition figures and abuse of its terrorism law. Ethiopia is one of the worst places in the world to be a journalist. 79 journalists fled Ethiopia between 2001 and 2011, the most of any country in the world. The press freedom index categorized Ethiopia among the most difficult countries for press. Continue reading
It shouldn’t be too surprising that social media can be a force for bad as well as good. Inter Press reports on how social media, which was credited for helping launch the ‘Arab Spring’ revolution in Egypt, is now being used by some to foment rumors, undermine opponents by spreading lies and to incite violence.
Historian David Oshinsky writes:
Since 1988, the number of new polio cases worldwide has plummeted from 350,000 cases to 223 last year. With only 26 so far in 2013, we have the smallest number of cases in the fewest countries ever, creating a dramatic opportunity for eradication. India, for example, was recently declared polio-free following an intensive effort to root out the disease.
Yet one important piece of the puzzle is currently missing: the United States.
The Independent’s Ian Birrell explores how Britain and US deal with the awkward fact that Kenya’s new democratically elected President Uhuru Kenyatta is facing charges by the International Criminal Court for the riots and killings that took place in earlier elections. As Birrell says:
“The International Criminal Court was designed for those monsters accused of the world’s worst crimes, but democracy has some unexpected consequences.”